Did you know Indian stand up comedy gained a lot of early traction and growth in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai?
South India hasn’t always been “as cool” as Mumbai or Delhi, however when it comes to the arts, many film stars, actors, and now even comedians learn their talent here and then go abroad when demand calls.
Even many of the top Indian comedians who work in Bollywood and movies or have Amazon and Netflix specials do a lot of their recordings and writing in Bangalore and Chennai because that’s where they’ll get the best response.
Try cracking jokes about Narcos or Rajinikanth to a bunch of factory uncles in Ludhiana and see if they really care.
South Indian Stand Up Comedy
- the internet,
- YouTube comedy videos
- and social media apps like Instagram and Facebook,
stand up comedy growth in India owes a lot to the South Indian comedy market and audiences.
People in Bangalore and the South usually are more open to other languages and dialects and understand everything, from Hollywood woke boy references to the latest Rajnikanth meme or joke.
As a result, it’s a fantastic place to watch Indian stand up comedians go from nothing to something. Even though most of Indian stand up comedy viewership seems to be going to Hindi comedy, there is still a lot of room to diversify and find your niche.
I’ve been in Bangalore since 2010 and pushed a lot of the comedy scene here, so now that it’s maturing and everybody wants to be a comic, I thought I’d simply list out some of the best performers so you can get a sense of the market.
South Indian Comedy Clubs
In addition, thanks to comedy clubs like the Spotted Hyena in Chennai and Urban Solace in Bangalore, comedy is continuing to thrive from the ground up and you can see your favorite big time comedians at many local pubs and restaurants.
Feel free to check out of any of these comedians on BookMyShow or their relative Facebook and YouTube pages and do comment your thoughts on the same.
Best South Indian Stand Up Comedians
These are some of the top comics who either live in South Indian cities like Bangalore or Chennai, or are Tamilian, Kannadiga, Telugu, etc…
1. Comedian Praveen Kumar | Tamil Stand Up Comedy and Movie Reviews
Comedian Praveen is famous for being the flag-bearer of Biryani, as you can see from this video which got 12 million views only about Biryani.
Imagine. 12 million views on a song about chicken and rice.
He also since shifted to Tamil stand up comedy and movie reviews and has found an even better following in his native tongue.
His one hour live Tamil comedy show called 36 Vayadhiniley just crossed 3 million views…one a one hour regional live recording!
If you’re a fan of middle-class family friendly comedy from a nice guy who does jokes that are veg (however from a strictly non-veg kind of guy) you’ll love his stuff.
2. Karthik Kumar | Author Actor Comic and Entrepreneur
Stand up comic Karthik Kumar founded Evam Stand Up Tamasha, which is the longest running comedy collective in the country based in Chennai.
They produce shows, have an office and continue to push out content in Tamil, English, and host Hindi comics as and when the frequent Chennai.
Karthik himself is also a very versatile performer who has done a few comedy specials and also wrote a book right around the same time I did!
His comedy specials Poke Me and Blood Chutney were some of the first Amazon Prime Video Stand up comedy specials and he continues to tour and perform comedy all over the world.
He’s one of the most popular South Indian stand up comedians.
3. Aravind SA | South Indian Stand Up Comedian Spokesperson
Aravind SA is arguably one of the best selling South Indian comedians who does shows across India, Singapore, Malaysia and of course the USA and Australia to primarily his Tamil fan base.
His comedy specials “I Was not Ready DA” and “Madrasi Da” gave him the lead voice on Hindi imposition, being South Indian and having Chennai and Tamil Nadu pride.
As a result, it’s done very well for his videos and his comedy career. He used to work with Evam but now does a lot of live shows on his own or with independent producers.
4. Alexander Babu | Musical Genius
Musical comedian and talented vocal artist Alex just put his latest Amazon Prime Comedy special called Alex in Wonderland and wow was it received well.
Alex mixes musical nuances of Tamil cinema and being Tamilian with various other aspects of pop culture and family life.
This makes for a highly entertaining performance that usually drives the South Indian audiences wild.
Alex also sells like anything overseas and it will be exciting to see what the future has in store.
5. Saikiran | Fair and Funny
The beauty of comedy especially in India is no matter how long or how senior you are, the audience is king.
Consistency is queen.
One such name who as far as I know has wowed the audiences with just one video is Saikiran with this clip:
As an English and Telugu comedian Sai seems very intelligent and clever and I look forward to seeing his next video. Pressure is on bro, all the best and very funny video below!
Imagine getting 180,000 subscribers on one video! Our comedy scene is crazy right now!
6. Vamsidhar Bhogaraju | Telugu English Stand Up Comedian
I’m waiting for Vamsidhar to break out as a comedy star, because he’s one of the funniest comics in India but just hasn’t really cracked yet.
He is from Andhra and does comedy primarily in English with a bit of Kannada comedy, but his mimicry, theater skills and acting is just top notch.
Although this clip on Swiggy never went viral (and I edited it), I hope one day it relaunches and does big things.
7. Suhas Navarathna | Being Kannadiga
I almost forgot to add this young guy to the list but I’m proud that he has made this bit work and work well, with 500,000+ views about being from Karnataka.
Way to go buddy, way to make the Bangalore stand up comedy scene proud!
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So who are the best South Indian stand up comedians? To recap, they are (in no particular order):
- Alexander Babu
- Aravind SA
- Karthik Kumar
- Comedian Praveen Kumar
- Vamsidhar Bhogaraju
- Suhas Navarathana
I’m also looking to update this list with new faces so if you have any favorites please do comment below with their names and videos and my team will have a look!
Sanjay Manaktala is one of the top stand up comedians in India who started building the comedy community in the country back in 2010. Since then his stand up comedy videos and podcasts have helped millions laugh or get motivated. His latest effort is the Birdy Num Num podcast, helping you learn creativity in life after engineering. You can learn about Sanjay here or check out his YouTube channel here.